Manchester United were ‘happy’ with the way their interview with Erik ten Hag went, it has been claimed. The Dutchman is under consideration to replace Ralf Rangnick at the end of the campaign due to the fine work he’s done at Ajax over the past five years. And all signs are pointing to him becoming their next boss, despite Mauricio Pochettino and Julen Lopetegui also being in the frame to take over.
Manchester United have been linked with many managers since sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in November and hiring Rangnick as a temporary replacement.
Pochettino has long been admired behind the scenes at Old Trafford, with Sir Alex Ferguson rating the Argentine since his time at Southampton.
Lopetegui’s name has also been thrown into the mix, despite the Sevilla boss previously struggling during his time at Real Madrid.
And United have also been tipped to pursue Luis Enrique though, with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar creeping closer, he’s very much a dark horse for the role.
Late on Tuesday evening, it emerged United had held talks with Ten Hag about taking the job.
The Dutchman has been at Ajax ever since December 2017, winning the league title twice during that time and also helping them re-establish themselves among Europe’s elite.
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And Fabrizio Romano says United were left ‘happy’ after the interview and with Ten Hag’s English levels in particular.
That should come as no surprise, with the 52-year-old already fluent in the language – recently saying it’s commonly used inside the Ajax dressing room.
However, it is said the final decision will ‘involve many factors’ with other candidates to be interviewed.
United know they need to get this appointment right, particularly due to the chastening years they’ve endured since Ferguson walked away in 2013.
When the Scot stepped down, the Red Devils were the best team in the country having beaten fierce rivals Manchester City to the Premier League title.
He then told the club to back their new boss in David Moyes, who was given the keys to Old Trafford after years of solid work at Everton.
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But United have toiled in the time since.
Moyes lasted just 10 months before being sacked, having failed to guide the club into the Champions League. Ryan Giggs then took charge for the final four games of the season.
After Moyes and Giggs came the Louis van Gaal era.
The charismatic Dutchman won the FA Cup in 2016 but ultimately ended up losing his job, despite blooding youth in the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
Following the departure of Van Gaal, United decided to roll the dice by bringing in Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese was initially a success, steering the Red Devils to Carabao Cup and Europa League glory at the first time of asking.
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However, after losing the support of players inside the dressing room including Paul Pogba, the Glazers and Ed Woodward again decided to wield the axe.
Solskjaer was put in charge on an interim basis in December 2018 after United thought he’d be a good option to steady the ship.
And, when he impressed during a temporary spell in the dugout, he was then given the job on a permanent basis.
Solskjaer raised spirits but, despite landing Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, was unable to take the team any further.
And he was dismissed from his position in November, less than 24 hours after a brutal 4-1 defeat to Watford.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, former United star Louis Saha endorsed the potential appointment of Zinedine Zidane despite the club looking beyond the Frenchman.
“I like the idea of Zidane as he’ll get the respect from the players,” he said. “But the Premier League is so difficult I’d expect even him to struggle at first.
“Erik ten Hag has benefited from working at a well-run club in Ajax with a very clear structure.
“He’s got quality, he’s got people around him, the Dutch are very knowledgeable in football but I’m sorry, United are a different animal to Ajax.
“Ajax is a trampoline for big clubs, they are respected in world football, but they are not in that elite group.
“They aren’t Milan, they aren’t Real Madrid, so most of the players won’t know about him. They’ll have heard of his name but that’s about it.
“Managing United is a different beast, we have seen some big names come in and get chewed out.”